Two ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines, polyethylene glycol and polysorbate 80 have been suggested as possible culprits in anaphylactic reactions. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use polyethylene glycol in their vaccines as a protective coating for messenger RNA. Polysorbate 80 is ubiquitous in a typical diet and is found in chewing gum, ice cream, and puddings. It’s also an ingredient in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine identified as a potential allergen. According to CDC, severe allergic reactions occur in 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United States. Fortunately, vaccination providers have medicines available to effectively and immediately treat patients who experience anaphylaxis following vaccination. According to Dr. Meredith Moore, a physician at Charleston Allergy and Asthma in South Carolina, it is not necessary for everyone who carries emergency epinephrine to opt for allergy tests. Those tests should only be reserved for those who have a history of allergic reactions without any known cause. Relying wholly on such testing can be harmful and result in people avoiding a vaccine that they otherwise should be able to receive. It is important to understand that a negative allergy test to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate 80 does not necessarily mean a person will be spared an allergic reaction to the vaccine whereas a positive test should not preclude a person from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Read the full article here
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